THE United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) says this country has broken international refugee law. In a release yesterday, the Geneva-based UNHCR, said that it “deeply regrets the deportation” of 82 Venezuelan nationals on Saturday.
The group, which comprised 53 men and 29 women, included registered asylum-seekers and individuals who had declared an intention to apply for refugee status, making their return to Venezuela a breach of international refugee law, the agency said. The detainees, held at the Immigration Detention Centre, were deported despite the UNHCR’s request for access to the individuals concerned and written interventions, it added.
“The forced return of this group is of great concern,” said Volker Türk, UNHCR Assistant High Commissioner for Protection. “We are in contact with the authorities and are seeking clarification on the legal process which has led to the deportations of this group, to ensure that Trinidad and Tobago continues to abide by its international obligations.”
Attorney General Faris Al Rawi, when questioned by Newsday yesterday afternoon in the Parliament, said he had not seen the UNHCR release since he had been chairing a Joint Select Committee hearing for the Anti-Terrorism Amendment Bill 2018. As such, Al-Rawi said he would prefer not to say anything until he has reviewed the release.
Newsday offered to show the AG the release, but Al-Rawi said he needed more time than the one minute before his break from the JSC hearing was over and the meeting resumed.